The Haunting of Mackay Mansion

Mackay Mansion –Storey County, Virginia City, Nevada

Photograph ©ericy102

129 South D. Street
Virginia City, Nevada 89440
(775) 847-0336

Built in 1859 by George Hearst, a mining superintendent, the Mackay Mansion was originally the “Gould and Curry Office” At that time, this building served as a mining agency and lodgings for Mr. Hearst.

George Hearst stayed in the house for a short time and then moved on. It was then that John Mackay moved in. Originating from Ireland, John Mackay immigrated to the state of New York in 1831, where he began working as a ship building apprentice at the age of sixteen. Fours years later, John Mackay left his job in New York, boarded a steamer and traveled on to San Francisco in hopes of making his fortune in the California gold mines. Unfortunately he found that mining was grueling work for little money so he moved on to Virginia City, hoping to make some money from the silver strike.

In the silver mines, John gained recognition for his woodworking skills and this in turn, brought him stock in the mines that he was helping to develop.

John then began buying up claims and from 1866-1869 he was in control of the Kentuck Mine, as well as, the Hale and Norcross, Belcher Mines, and the Gould and Curry Office.

In the early 1870’s, John moved into the Mackay Mansion and teamed up with a man named James Fair. These two men later became known for discovering the largest silver deposit in North America.

John, who was extremely wealthy by this point, spent most of his time helping the needy. In 1902, John died at the age of seventy, on his way to London on business.

Today, the Mackay Mansion still stands proudly, giving tours and teaching the history of John and the mining world that once ruled Virginia City. Inside this beautiful home is the silver set made for John’s wife, the first “working” bathroom in Virginia City, and ghosts….yes, I said ghosts!

One of the spirits to haunt the Mansion is that of a small child dressed in white. Here’s an interesting story about this apparitions: The Mackay Mansion doesn’t usually allow overnight guests, however, an exception was made for Johnny Depp while he was shooting the movie “Dead Man”. Johnny reported seeing this ghostly child during his stay, as well as, hearing it playing in the room across the hall!

Also reported in this house is the apparition of a former Colonel who makes an appearance in the kitchen, often seen sitting at the table. This specter may also be responsible for the sounds of footsteps going up and down the stairs and unexplainable noises that come from the third floor.